Noisy Water Review

Advertising Perfection to the Masses:
Analysis of Old Spice’s Questions?

Brandon Boatman


Taking a look at Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” ad campaign and focusing on the commercial entitled Questions?, information and explanations are sought to discern the appeal and widespread success of the ads. Using Fantasy Theme Analysis, Semiotics and Uses and Gratification theories, I explain why this commercial, in particular, highlights the popularity of the campaign. Explanations seek to explain why “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” is able to appeal to varied demographics and why it was able to increase sales of the Old Spice brand.


The internet has provided companies with ample opportunity to advertise to distinct audiences that they can identify through market research or with key phrases found within websites. An individual will be confronted with cell phone advertisements on electronics blogs, healthy eating or weight loss advertisements on health websites and so on. What usually does not occur are individuals seeking out the advertisements themselves, until Old Spice, Wieden + Kennedy, and Isaiah Mustafa changed that with a recent ad campaign identified as “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like.”

The campaign featured two 30 second commercials, two 15 second commercials and 186 YouTube video responses to social media posts. currently reports that Old Spice posts have been viewed over 181 million times, and advertisers and social media experts are buzzing after the campaign's success. The response videos are being hailed as the fastest-growing viral video campaign of any product in history (NPR Staff, 2010). The Emmy award for Best TV Commercial was awarded to Mustafa and ad agency Wieden + Kennedy for "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" for Old Spice Body Wash. It's the latest in a growing line of formal praise for a campaign that hit TV like a ton of beefcake and became an ongoing viral sensation (It moved a ton of product, too) (Stanley, 2010, p. 32). The praise for these commercials begs the question: What have they done differently?

Foremost, Isaiah Mustafa’s character stands out as an over-the-top, shirtless machismo. The commercial entitled: Questions? allows us the most insight into what is different about this character and campaign, and therefore will be used in analyzing the roots of success for Wieden + Kennedy and Old Spice. Using Fantasy Theme Analysis, Semiotics, and Uses and Gratification Theory I will expand upon roots of the commercial as seen by myself and communicated throughout my research with an effort to focus on the qualities that pushed “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” to the top of viewership on YouTube, and to the top of advertising agencies’ success targets.

Company History & CEO

When it comes to success and market revenue, very few companies can compare with likes of Procter and Gamble, the owners of the brand Old Spice. In 2010 Procter and Gamble was the sixth most admired company in the world by other companies ( The company changed CEOs in July of 2010 from A.G. Lafley to Robert McDonald. Under Lafley, the company was admired for its innovation and focus on the consumer, while new CEO McDonald has announced plans to introduce dozens of new lower-cost products in the U.S. and abroad, hoping to capitalize on recession-weary shoppers looking for discounts (

Robert McDonald has nearly 30 years of brand-building, market development, global business unit and global operations leadership experience across P&G and throughout the world ( Companies like P&G are a force in the world with a market capitalization that is greater than the GDP of many countries, and serving more the 180 countries with 120,000 employees.

The company was founded in 1837 and headquarters reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. P&G states it grows but touching and improving more consumers’ lives in more parts of the world…more completely ( In 2010 it was reported that P&G had total revenue of $78.9 billion and a net income of $12.74 billion. In 2009 it was reported P&G had total assets worth $134.83 billion and $63.099 billion in total equity (

Old Spice was introduced first in 1937 as a woman’s fragrance and was followed by a men’s fragrance in 1938 by the Shulton Company founded in 1934. P&G purchased Old Spice from the Shulton Company in June 1990. Introduced with a picture of a clipper ship originally, P&G replaced that emblem with a sailboat/yacht logo in February 1992 (Kahn).

Description of Commercial

The commercial entitled “Questions” begins with a close up of a shirtless, African-American man holding Old Spice After Hours body wash with foam soap on the bottom of the bottle. He quickly addresses viewers by saying “Hello ladies! How are you doing? Fantastic! Does your man look like me? No. Can he smell like me? Yes! Should he use Old Spice body wash? I don’t know…” leaving no time between his questions and answers. The camera zooms out to show the man in a towel, within a beach scene featuring a running outdoor shower and the sound of seagulls in the background.

After he says the words, “I don’t know…”, the beach scene breaks in half moving opposite directions taking the man’s legs (fake along with the beach) with each separation. The scene revealed behind the beach is a lake surrounded by evergreen trees and snow capped mountains. The man is then walking on a log in the middle of the lake wearing khaki high water shorts while continuing his questioning: “Do you like the smell of adventure?”

At the end of the question he drops the bottle of Old Spice body wash and leaves the log to walk across the lake (on the water). He continues, “Do you want a man who smells like he can bake you a gourmet cake…” he catches a white frosted cake with red trim and lettering, reading You’re Beautiful, surrounded by red frosting roses. He does this while walking into an unfinished kitchen moving his right hand to a table saw placed on the counter, continuing, “…in the dream kitchen he built you with his own hands?” The background of the kitchen shows a stainless steel refrigerator, a window looking at a tree, unfinished walls and a counter featuring a sink that has tools and blueprints on it. As he moves across the unfinished kitchen he saws a portion of the kitchen’s center island off and throws the cake on the parallel counter, which lands perfectly flat.

As the cake lands, our character exits the unfinished kitchen into an open forested stream on a mountain and comes to a waterfall. He spreads his arm and, still staring into the camera, exclaims, “SWAN DIVE…” and leaps from the ledge and, with arms outstretched, he begins to float down never having left his standing appearance. He continues, “…into the best night of your life!” as the camera follows our character down the waterfall where he lands in a natural wooded (custom made) hot tub.

After he splashes into the hot tub, his gaze never averted from the camera, he continues, “So ladies…” The camera pans out to show the natural wood hot tub sitting on a natural wood deck with a forested mountain background. The character places his right arm back, open to the camera as our character begins to conclude, “…should your man smell like an Old Spice man?” The camera continues to zoom out to also reveal a natural wood bench with two white towels folded neatly near the edge. Suddenly, the four walls of the hot tub fall outwards and disappear as the water rushes towards the edge of the natural wood deck revealing our character now sitting on a red and white motorcycle with the engine running. He is also holding the Old Spice body wash that he was holding in the beginning of the commercial, and is now wearing dark blue denim jeans and his right hand is on his hip. As he holds up the bottle of Old Spice body wash he concludes by saying, “You tell me.”

The final image we are left with is our character holding the Old Spice body wash, sitting shirtless with denim jeans and khaki colored boots and belt. He still has his right hand on his hip, smirking seductively on a dripping wet, red and white motorcycle with the engine running on a natural wooded deck. A forested mountain background with a running waterfall is overlaid by white words that appear above the head of the character stating Smell Like A Man, Man. Old Spice.

The entire length of the commercial shows the emblem for Old Spice in the bottom left hand corner; a white ship with numerous sails showing wind and signifying movement. The commercial ends with the signature Old Spice “whistle” tune. The commercial is unique for its continuous movement and unaltered gaze from the main character featured in the commercial.

Theory Review

Fantasy Theme Analysis

Fantasy Theme Analysis is a form of rhetorical criticism. It takes the shared fantasies of a group of people, perhaps the audience for a business presentation or a public speech, and examines them for inside jokes and other cues to a shared consciousness (Bormann E. G., 1972, p. 397). The criticism can then describe and evaluate the consciousness of the group to determine its heroes and villains, its hopes and fears, how the group members deal with things such as violence or acts of kindness, and such other events within and outside the community (Bormann E. G.). The “reality” is made up of descriptions explaining how things are believed to be. The themes or stories are created in small groups which are chained out to the larger society. Fantasy Theme Analysis can be summed up as the creative and imaginative interpretation of events that fulfills a psychological or rhetorical need (Bormann E. G., 1972, p. 397). The underlying motivation of Fantasy Theme Analysis states that we are not necessarily persuaded by reason. We are often persuaded by suggestion that ties in with our dreams (Bormann E. B., 1972, p. 171). By using a fantasy theme, one will have a better chance to influence the other involved by influencing the best of what we hope in ourselves. A different explanation focuses on “parables” or dramatic interpretations within the advertisements. A McDonald’s commercial, for example, is not a series of testable, logically ordered assertions. It is a drama, a mythology, if you will, of handsome people selling, buying, and eating hamburgers, and being driven to near ecstasy by their good fortune. Is there a claim? (Postman, 1985, p. 5) The intent, therefore, is to identify the message within the message, what the advertisement alludes to in its communication of what is offered by buying their product or using their service and what is derived by those that see it.

One’s use of Fantasy Theme Analysis is based on several assumptions: 1) People build symbolic shared views of reality non-objectively. 2) A rhetorical community's shared view of reality is best analyzed through a rhetorical concept called a fantasy theme. 3) Meaning, emotion, and motive are in the message, providing a direct link between one's symbolic manifestation of reality (the rhetorical vision) and one's behavior. 4) As people begin to share and extend fantasy explanations they build up a composite dramatistic explanation of reality for maintaining and promulgating the rhetorical vision. 5) Rhetorical visions are often in competition about the same issues (Shields, 1985, pp. 102-104).


Simplified, semiotics is the study of signs. It is a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life. It investigates the nature of signs and the laws governing them (Saussure, 1916). Expanding on the simplified definition, semiotics is the theory of the production and interpretation of meaning. Its basic principle is that meaning is made by the deployment of acts and objects which function as "signs" in relation to other signs (University of Twente, 2010). The measure of semiotics is nearly infinite, as semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign (Eco, 1976). Additionally, every thought is a sign (Pierce, 1931-58, p. 538). We learn from semiotics that we live in a world of signs and we have no way of understanding anything except through signs and the codes into which they are organized. Through the study of semiotics we become aware that these signs and codes are normally transparent and disguise our task in 'reading' them. Living in a world of increasingly visual signs, we need to learn that even the most 'realistic' signs are not what they appear to be (Chandler, 2005).

In using semiotics to analyze a commercial, one must identify the signifier (the form which the sign takes) and the signified (what the concept represents) (Saussure, 1916). If we were to look at a stop sign, we would recognize the physical sign as the signifier. We would then recognize that the signified concept is to “stop”. Depending on the context of those identifying the sign, it may take on different signified concepts such as “slow down”, or “make sure to not wreck your vehicle while passing through.”

Uses and Gratification

The uses and gratification approach suggests that people use the media to fulfill specific gratifications. This theory would then imply that the media compete against other information sources for viewers' gratification (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974, p. 20). The core question of such research is: Why do people use media and what do they use them for? Four uses have been identified and ordered when concerning media use: 1) information; 2) personal identity; 3) integration and social interaction; and 4) entertainment (McQuail, 1983). Uses and gratification is mainly used to observe and theorize why individuals use different media.

In analyzing a commercial itself, we can apply the theory to the product being advertised. Applying the theory to the product should aim to answer the question: What benefits (gratifications) will the consumer experience by using this product? Both the media analysis and product analysis will be used.

Theory Application

Fantasy Theme Analysis

The largest fantasy theme being communicated by the commercial is the portrayal of the ideal man. “The man your man can smell like” (who the character is recognized as) is an over-the-top representation of everything an American man may aspire to be; he is tall, handsome, muscular, confident, smooth, witty, capable, cool, charismatic, intelligent, and one could assume he smells fantastic. A man may aspire to be many of these things, but to aspire to be all would seem daunting and impossible. The Old Spice commercial assumes this in its portrayal of the ideal man; American standards for ideal are set too high. For the ladies that the character addresses, he states from the beginning that sadly, their men are not him, but at least they can smell like him. Further expanding on the Fantasy Theme of the Old Spice character being the ideal man is shown when he walks across water from a log to catch a cake seamlessly delivered from the heavens. This can be seen as a reference to similarity with Jesus, who theologically in the Christian faith is the only perfect human to have ever lived. In referencing his role as Jesus, actor Bruce Marchiano refers to Jesus as literally living, breathing manhood- true manhood. In the sum of His ways, He was true masculinity defined and personified. He was the perfection of masculinity, the model, the ideal, the bar, the standard (Marchiano, 2006, p. 6). More so, men and women consider Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr. ideal men based on characteristics such as love, caring, and leadership abilities (Weinstein, 2009, p. 166). 

After the Old Spice character seemingly builds a dream kitchen with one hand while holding a cake he supposedly baked, he comes to a waterfall and uses an action metaphor of “Swan dive… into the best night of your life!” and jumps off. Instead of meeting bodily harm, he floats down with arms outstretched and back upright, as if he is a gift from God being sent to the women of earth. The Fantasy Theme is powerful in this regard as it communicates to women who would seek an ideal man that their standards may be a bit too high, but God certainly approves of Old Spice. To the men watching it is communicated that they have no chance of being the ideal man and to take some of the pressure off themselves, at least they can smell like him, which is the most important step since scent is the easiest to judge (if you smell like Old Spice, you will be associated with the ideal man). By taking steps to smelling like the ideal man and naturally, towards being the ideal man, men in relationships become more satisfying to their mates, and single men become more desirable to women. In purchasing and using Old Spice, a man can be identified as moving towards the perceived manhood idealism that has been established by the society at large. Old Spice Guy deftly managed a difficult stunt: being the man women want, and the man other men want to be (Potter, 2010, p. 23).

Even how the commercial was recorded has added to allure of the character. The ads were shot in a single cut, without computerized special effects. That’s really Mustafa delivering his lines, rolling a log in a lake, cutting a countertop with a circular saw, throwing a cake over his shoulder and then jumping (with the aid of an invisible harness: communicating still that real men are prepared) onto a motorcycle parked in a Jacuzzi (Edwards, 2010, p. 18).

The commercial begins with a beach scene showing the open ocean, sunshine, a running shower, and the sounds of seagulls which is then torn apart to reveal a forested mountain setting. Both of these environments feed the previous fantasy theme as well as help establish a new one: experience. From its beginnings in 1938, Old Spice rested heavily on nautical imagery and everything it represented- cool breezes, brave seafarers, freedom and adventure. Back when consumers weren’t as cynical as they are now, the brand could use this iconography literally (Klara, 2010, p. 33). Rather than rebrand itself, Old Spice has brought back the nautical themed references that it began with while communicating a new message with its voice. Rather than trying to run away from its grandfatherliness, Old Spice instead embraced a big-brother persona and a purpose as Mr. [Jim] Stengel described it as “helping guys navigate the seas of manhood” by offering experience (Neff, 2008, p. 12).

One may be curious as to why Old Spice would attempt to adopt an older brother image rather than a father image when trying to communicate experience in navigating the seas of manhood. One reason could be the number of single mother households in America at the time of this decision. There are almost 14 million single mothers and fathers currently raising their children in the United States. Out of all the single parents, females constitute about 83% of the total number, and single fathers around 17% (Grall, 2009). Another example is implied from the character Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in the movie, Fight Club, as he exclaims, “We're a generation of men raised by women.” (Uhls, 1999) Being raised in a single mother home would leave one with the feeling of distaste if Old Spice were to adopt a father figure, but by taking the route of an older brother, the same viewer can relate because an older brother would have gone through the same experience, and those from a two parent home will not sour because of it. Tying into the fantasy theme of the ideal man, the older, experienced brother adds to the imagery Old Spice set up with their character. A manifesto from Old Spice’s brand team goes: “I didn’t have an older brother to steer me down the aisle of the Old Spice shelf. Needless to say, I spent my formative years watching a lot of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ on Friday nights. Now I have the chance to be that older brother I never had. I want to help the kids of today become the men of tomorrow. I want to sell them some Old Spice.” (Neff, 2008, p. 12). Further adding to why Old Spice decided to have an older brother attitude over a fatherly attitude can be derived from a statistic that states 94 percent of people in prison are men. And 85 percent of those men grew up in fatherless homes (Miller, 2010, p. 4).

The ocean scenery references freedom, breezes, opportunity, while the new mountain scenery presented in this commercial adds to the theme of the ideal man. The well known term “mountain man” comes to mind when watching the commercial. It further propagates that this man can live self-sufficiently. He can build not only his lady’s dream kitchen, but probably a house as well; he can hunt, live off the land, and be one with nature. The seamless movement through the mountain scenery and the unbroken gaze from the camera even as the character jumps off the ledge would indicate fearlessness, another desirable trait among men.

By using this character of African-American decent to represent the physical portion of the ideal man, we witness reframing in action. Media have divided the working class and stereotyped young African-American males as gangsters or drug dealers. As a result of such treatment, the media have crushed youths' prospects for future employment and advancement. The media have focused on the negative aspects of the black community (e.g. engaging in drug use, criminal activity, welfare abuse) while maintaining the cycle of poverty that the elite wants (Balkaran, 1999, p. 1). Yet by using an African-American man to represent the quintessential perfect man, it seems like Old Spice chose to disregard stereotypes and preconceived notions altogether and focus on the right man for the job. They could have paid attention to the study that stated Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. were two of the most ideal men according to college students. They would not be wrong in their decision to cast Isaiah Mustafa as the “Old Spice Guy”.

The commercial that premiered before this particular one, the first of a three part ad campaign featuring Mr. Mustafa, won the Film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes in June 2010. Old Spice began to reverse share losses as soon as it began in February. As of July 18, 2010, Old Spice, with 94 million views, had become the No. 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube. Old Spice had eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube on July 16 (Nack, 2010, p. 30). It would seem apparent that the campaign made an impact and Old Spice’s decision to cast Isaiah Mustafa and reframe African-American males under the light of the ideal man was a decision that is reaping rewards in one way or another.


The character’s gaze is set directly in the camera and never alters. The gaze of the character demands a personal, deep connection. It also demands respect of the character and the product. The gaze is generally used to draw your attention to a product; however, it can be used to imply knowledge, sexuality, and power (Olin, 1996, p. 209). In this commercial, the character’s gaze implies all three. The gaze also suggests that a perfect man makes eye contact with those he is speaking to, especially when a man is speaking to “ladies.” His gaze is directed into the camera as he moves throughout the scenery suggesting the bravery or fearlessness an ideal man possesses. It also alludes to familiarity with a man’s surrounding environment. He can look directly into the camera fearlessly, giving the ladies the proper respect they deserve because this is his territory. He owns this land and works with these materials daily, and no longer needs to pay attention while walking because a perfect man learns and adapts to his environment. Furthermore, the gaze implies the confidence the character has in himself. He has nothing to hide when speaking to ladies, he is honest and noble, and he establishes trust with the audience by gazing into our eyes.

Our character is holding a red bottle of body wash. The bottle has an orange sticker on it with a black hexagon in the middle. The black hexagon shows “Old Spice” and “Body Wash” written in white, while a red bar outlines the white words, “After Hours.” The top and bottom of the body wash also has white foam covering those parts of the bottle. The red bottle is meant to symbolize strength, power, passion, and desire. The orange represents joy, sunshine, determination, and attraction. The black represents strength, authority, and elegance. The white foam symbolizes perfection, goodness, innocence, safety, purity, and cleanliness (QSX Software Group, 2010). Furthermore, the bottle of body wash signifies all these attributes the character possesses are due to him using the body wash. The foam implies use as the character is standing next to a running beach shower before we are given a lecture on what sets apart a man who uses Old Spice.

The beach scene has brown sand, a light blue sky, and blue ocean. The brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities. Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness. Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness (QSX Software Group, 2010). As the beach breaks away our character is surrounded by similar blue skies, but is now on a lake surrounded by gray, snow capped mountains and dark green trees. The mountains signify the vast open space a free man has the luxury of working within. The gray colors of the mountain suggest that the surrounding environment can be bleak and confusing. The dark green in the trees is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy (QSX Software Group, 2010). These signs offer a message that alludes to the outside world being envious and perhaps being cruel, but a real man finds success anyways. The ideal man will even share his wisdom with those who will listen although it seems as though the force of opposition is great. As the character walks through the mountains, he wears brown shorts, communicating his stability and masculine qualities. Also, the two different scenes offer us a picture of the natural, and communicate that the character himself is all natural.

The character says implies that if your man uses Old Spice, we will smell like adventure. Adventure is communicated in the forms of walking on a log in the middle of a lake, walking on water, baking a gourmet cake, building a kitchen with your bare hands, cliff jumping, and motorcycle riding. Perhaps if your man at least smelled like these things, then you could be proud of him and even brag about him.

The character drops the bottle of body wash into the lake when he finishes effortlessly walking on a log. When he is seemingly done with the body wash, he moves briskly throughout the scene, never pausing or stalling, which signifies that after you are done using Old Spice body wash you will be more productive and more decisive all day.

The character asks the ladies if they would like their man to smell like a man who can bake them a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built with his bare hands. As he asks the question a gourmet cake falls from the sky and is caught by the character showing the audience that an ideal man is prepared, and that he is in control. He moves through an unfinished kitchen moving a running saw across the counter while carrying the cake he caught also communicating that an ideal man can multitask well.

When he comes to a waterfall and jumps off, only to float down gently, a semiotic code is presented communicating that an ideal man can do amazing things (walking on water, commanding a cake to fall from the sky). The ideal man has an ability to amaze you in some way and even more so if he uses Old Spice, like not only building you your dream kitchen with his bare hands, but also using that kitchen to transcend stereotypes and bake you a gourmet cake. If you are with the ideal man, you will not be typecast into the role of a typical woman. You will be doted on and catered to.

He floats down into a custom made hot tub. We can assume he built this with his bare hands as well. The natural wood matching that of the deck it sits on, it seems obvious that our character crafted these himself from the surrounding trees. Also, by coming to this assumption, it can be signified that the greed and jealousy that previously surrounded our character has succumbed to the power of the ideal man, and been made into another item that is intended to provide a luxury for his lady. The character tells the ladies to swan dive into the best night of their lives. He doesn’t inform us what is involved in the best night of a lady’s life, but we can easily assume it involves a man who smells like Old Spice.

In the hot tub, the character asks: “So ladies, should your man smell like an Old Spice man? You tell me.” He has informed us the entire commercial what an Old Spice man smells like and made it obvious that men should smell like Old Spice, but he leaves the power of the decision up to the ladies. Women are in control throughout the commercial. The character addresses them, asks them if they think their men should smell like Old Spice, informs them what an Old Spice man smells like, and then lets the women decide if that is what they want.

He ends the commercial on top of a red and white motorcycle, further symbolizing adventure and freedom. He is wearing dark blue jeans signifying knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness. The red on the motorcycle represents energy, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. The white represents goodness, innocence, purity, and perfection (QSX Software Group, 2010). He ends up with the bottle of body wash that was presented in the beginning of the commercial as well.

Uses and Gratification

Something peculiar with the delivery of the character is the fact that he is addressing women to sell a man’s body wash product. Research done by Procter and Gamble showed that men used their significant other’s shower products, but secretly longed for their own. Men liked using the products, but felt it sacrificed their masculinity (Wong, 2009, p. 8). Company research also showed that 60% of the time females have a significant input in purchase decisions of male shower products (Liu, 2010). By addressing women, the character is addressing the influence for certain body wash enters the showers of men. Those women with men will influence their men to use Old Spice, and those without men will be attracted to men who do use Old Spice thereby influencing single men to purchase Old Spice as well.

Being a man who uses Old Spice, you will be more desirable, but even more important is the fact that you will identify yourself as a man striving for perfection. One would identify himself as a man with ambition, drive, and a passion for achieving the best in him. A man, whether single or not, could even start using Old Spice as a daily reminder to aspire to the ideal. Halvorson (psychology, Lehigh Univ.) holds that an individual's mode of thinking (the abstract whys and concrete whats) can help or hinder achievement of goals (Bigelow, 2010, p. 88). With the character making it clear that he is the embodiment of the ideal, using Old Spice can affect the individual’s mode of thinking. The scent alone can be a reminder throughout the day.

At the very least, if a man uses Old Spice he can be associated with the ideal throughout the day. The relative ease that the character flows throughout the scenery in the commercial will be communicated through the scent carried by the individual throughout the day. This fact appeals to men who do not care to aspire to the ideal as well. They will be associated with the ideal just by showering with Old Spice products.

Use of Old Spice, overall, is associated with satisfaction in a relationship. If you are attracting a new mate, improving the relationship with your current mate, or just bored with your current male mate, Old Spice offers itself as the product that will remedy these situations. It assumes women will be happier with a man that at least smells like adventure. It assumes that men are happy with a woman and seek to improve their odds with women through scent associations.

The popularity of the commercial, especially after it was added to, provides evidence as to what people are looking for. The video has over 18 million views, over 57 thousand likes, and less than 1,000 dislikes. The majority of the comments address the entertainment value of the commercial. user Ayume116 commented: “oh my god this is the greatest thing in the history of everything.” User koolpopcorn27 quotes the number of dislikes when they comment: “875 men can’t smell like him.” The product movement reported after these commercials seems to support the idea that entertaining today’s viewer sells product. Old Spice understood the popularity they garnered through and used their YouTube channel to make 186 custom video responses to users of social networking websites. Keeping these commercials accessible to the public has added to the entertainment appeal and allowed Old Spice to grow exponentially in the consumer’s mind.


Old Spice has established themselves as the body wash for the ideal man, or those striving to become ideal. By using an over-the-top character to exaggerate qualities many of today’s young men strive for and many women seek out, Old Spice was able to differentiate themselves from other brands and have allowed them more freedom in how they approached their target audience. By using the previously mentioned fantasy themes, adding additional semiotic messages, and anecdotally referring to different gratifications from using their products, Old Spice has set a new standard for advertising entertainment. "There's something about the potential that you could be spoken to directly that I think is very, very captivating," (Marshall) Kirkpatrick says (NPR Staff, 2010).

The unattainable, perfect man (God’s gift to women) is not you or your man (if you are a woman). But if you use Old Spice, the cool older brother that has been around the block and has the wisdom to point you in the right direction, you (or your man) can take the next step towards achieving mountain man (previously nautical voyager) status and be fearless, self-sufficient, able to provide for, strong, powerful, determined, graceful, well-spoken, attractive man. At the very least, you can smell like a man, man.


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